Increased anxiety in mice lacking vitamin D receptor gene

Neuroreport. 2004 Jun 7;15(8):1271-4. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000129370.04248.92.


Vitamin D is a steroid hormone with many important functions in the brain, mediated through the vitamin D nuclear receptor. Numerous human and animal data link vitamin D dysfunctions to various behavioural disorders. To examine this problem, we studied whether genetic ablation of vitamin D receptors in mice may be associated with altered emotional behaviours. Here we show that the receptor-deficient mice demonstrate increased anxiety-like behaviours when subjected to a battery of behavioural tests. These studies suggest that vitamin D and its receptors are an important factor in the brain, whose imbalance may significantly affect emotional behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / genetics*
  • Anxiety Disorders / metabolism
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Grooming / physiology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / genetics
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / deficiency*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D